Paddle One of the Longest Sea Caves in the World at Channel Islands National Park

Painted Cave, Channel Islands National Park

blog by Visit Ventura

top image by Isaac Tozer

Complete darkness surrounds you as your eyes give way to better-suited senses to navigate. The sound of water splashing against cave walls reveals enough about your position to guide you. The echoed barks let you know you’re not alone.

 

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It’s a bewildering feeling; You’re weightless floating in a pitch black chamber when you remember there is an island above you. You turn on your flashlight and take it all in.

 

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Freshwater seeps through cave walls giving life to the colorful lichen and algae that give Painted Cave its name. 600-pound sea lions lie splendid on protruding rocks.

 

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There’s nothing like the sense of adventure that comes with exploring places we don’t belong.

 

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Santa Cruz Island and the marine sanctuary that surrounds it features 77 miles of craggy coastline including Painted Cave, one of the largest and deepest in the world.

 

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The cave is 160 feet tall and 1,300 feet–or nearly four football fields–long. There are multiple chambers, each narrower with less light and somehow more enticing.

 

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Back in the sunshine floating atop kelp forests in crystal clear waters, I knew I’d never forget this day.

 

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Whether you’re hiking, diving, camping, or kayaking, Channel Islands National Park never ceases to be the perfect escape.

 

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To visit Painted Cave, reserve a kayak tour for spring or summer 2019 through Channel Islands Adventure Company or book a trip to Santa Rosa Island through Island Packers who, weather permitting, stop at Painted Cave for a quick peek on the return trip.

Click here for more information on Channel Islands National Park.

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